News   GLOBAL  |  Apr 02, 2020
 8.2K     0 
News   GLOBAL  |  Apr 01, 2020
 39K     0 
News   GLOBAL  |  Apr 01, 2020
 4.5K     0 

I expect many are not aware of this plaque attached to the "Freedom" Arches at City hall.

CityHallarches.jpg
 
the berlin wall!!! who knew?

Fell so hard it landed on the other side of the Atlantic!

You'd think, given it's the Berlin Wall, they could have put the citation in German, too. :) And isn't it interesting how many extra, superfluous words it takes the same the same thing in French as it does in English?
 
Fell so hard it landed on the other side of the Atlantic!

And isn't it interesting how many extra, superfluous words it takes the same the same thing in French as it does in English?

You can't always phrase things the exact same way in French as in English, which means none of the words in the French are actually 'extra' or 'superfluous'. The average French sentence is 15-20% longer than its English equivalent, and German is generally only slightly less wordy than that.
 
You can't always phrase things the exact same way in French as in English, which means none of the words in the French are actually 'extra' or 'superfluous'. The average French sentence is 15-20% longer than its English equivalent, and German is generally only slightly less wordy than that.

Very much the case (I should point out that the idea that the words are superfluous is a subjective value judgement, of course). In the instance of French, it's a reticence of right-branching languages, which Latin-descended languages typically are, to form compound words directly, relying more often instead on prepositions to relate the words. There's some logic to this, as explained to me by a woman from Spain who said, "If a glass table is a table made of glass, what, then, is a coffee table...?" The brevity English and other Germanic languages tend to gain in this way comes at the risk of ambiguity.

German, for its part, tends to suffer from the opposite sin, one common to other left-branching languages... a Lego-like snapping together of elements into unwieldy (to English eyes) compound words, exacerbated by a reluctance (at least till fairly recently) to adopt concise foreign terms. English has traditionally been much more amenable than German to incorporating precise foreign words for new concepts. English has walked a fine compromise between these two traditions; a practice that has resulted in, as we've observed, a higher degree of brevity, as well as garnering it an unusually large vocabulary with a wide variety of synonyms and near-synonyms with subtle shades of meaning. Not that I want to pat English-speakers on the back for any of this; none of it was by design. It's just how the language evolved culturally.
 
Very much the case (I should point out that the idea that the words are superfluous is a subjective value judgement, of course). In the instance of French, it's a reticence of right-branching languages, which Latin-descended languages typically are, to form compound words directly, relying more often instead on prepositions to relate the words. There's some logic to this, as explained to me by a woman from Spain who said, "If a glass table is a table made of glass, what, then, is a coffee table...?" The brevity English and other Germanic languages tend to gain in this way comes at the risk of ambiguity.

German, for its part, tends to suffer from the opposite sin, one common to other left-branching languages... a Lego-like snapping together of elements into unwieldy (to English eyes) compound words, exacerbated by a reluctance (at least till fairly recently) to adopt concise foreign terms. English has traditionally been much more amenable than German to incorporating precise foreign words for new concepts. English has walked a fine compromise between these two traditions; a practice that has resulted in, as we've observed, a higher degree of brevity, as well as garnering it an unusually large vocabulary with a wide variety of synonyms and near-synonyms with subtle shades of meaning. Not that I want to pat English-speakers on the back for any of this; none of it was by design. It's just how the language evolved culturally.
Whoah, language geek :)
 
Lone Primate,

I would add...

English has maintained and integrated two different vocabularies, a germanic one and a latin one. Rather than dropping words as redundent, usage over time has added semantic differentiations to what were germanic/latin synonyms. This has created much more precision in English than in French where there are simply fewer words to work with.

At its heart French is still very much the language of the 17th/18th century court/académie, all rules and artifice... and they love it that way! English is much more down and dirty, which is one of the reasons it has replaced French as an international lingua franca.
 

Top